How We’re Adapting to Virtual Interviews—and Tips for Candidates
Below is an article originally written by Facebook, a PowerToFly Partner. Go to Facebook's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
For critical hiring needs, it's not a question of whether you can still effectively interview candidates during the coronavirus pandemic—it's a matter of how. Adapting the Facebook company's hiring and onboarding processes to the new realities of shelter-in-place requires a collaborative effort across its recruiting team, interviewers, and business partners as it shifts thousands of interviews into virtual formats. For Andrew C., recruiting manager, and Zef R., software engineer, this new normal required them to pivot quickly and innovate. Andrew says, "We may be working from home, but that isn't affecting our hiring motivation or our processes, particularly for engineering and product roles. A lot of our interviews can take hours. Interviewing virtually from your home for that length of time is one of those big changes that affects all kinds of things, from internet bandwidth to ensuring you have a quiet place in your house away from kids or pets.""This is a new world for all of us. We're all working remotely, so we naturally have empathy for candidates who are interviewing remotely too," Andrew adds. "We try to translate that into the care we're showing candidates throughout their interactions with our team."
Implementing new strategies for bringing Facebook's culture to lifeHelping candidates feel comfortable enough to be their authentic selves requires a level of thoughtfulness and care that Facebook works hard to cultivate. But during the stress and uncertainty of a pandemic, it becomes even more essential. "When candidates interview in-person, we have someone on-site who greets them, sets expectations, and makes sure they have what they need for their interviews. For interviews that we've moved to video, we now have someone from our hiring or recruiting team greet them virtually before the interviews start, so the candidate can work out technical kinks and ask any final questions about the process. It's an important opportunity for us to make sure the candidate feels prepared and at ease before the actual interviews start," says Andrew."We encourage our interviewers to check in regularly as well," Zef adds. "Simple things like asking candidates if they need a quick break go a long way, especially when they've been in back-to-back interviews for hours."By walking through the office and seeing the environment up close, candidates get a feel for Facebook's culture when they're interviewing on-site. Bringing this culture to life in a virtual interview requires a more innovative approach. "We share advice from employees and videos that help show what life is like in that office or city, and even virtual tours," Andrew says.Facebook product team members have also accelerated the launch of a candidate portal. The new tool gives candidates information about what to expect during their interviews, links to prep materials, their schedule, and all the logistical details on using video conferencing software. Also included in the portal is a feature where candidates can send thank you notes to interviewers."For interviews that we've moved to video, we now have someone from our hiring or recruiting team greet them virtually before the interviews start, so the candidate can work out technical kinks and ask any final questions about the process."
Enabling candidates to shine during technical interviews"We've had to explore new options for interviewing candidates for roles that are technical in nature or in design," Andrew says. "During in-person interviews, candidates are typically asked to draw their process on a whiteboard or paper. Now, we don't dictate a specific tool candidates have to use; they have options. Google Drawings is one, or they can use the whiteboard tool through the video conferencing service we use. If they have a specific tool they are already familiar with, they can screen share it to the interviewer. If they feel more comfortable drawing diagrams manually, we're offering reimbursement funds for a physical whiteboard they can use."Showing your thought process is key for all of the interviews, but especially the product architecture and system design. "One of the things I've been focusing on with candidates is to help them understand it's not the specific tool they use that makes them successful in the interview. The tool is simply a way to organize ideas. The questions we discuss in these interviews are very open-ended, and don't have a single correct answer. What's most important—virtual or not—is how they talk about their ideas, think about different options, and how they problem-solve along the way," Zef says."We don't dictate a specific tool candidates have to use; they have options."
A new way to onboardOnce candidates are hired and start, they'll experience an onboarding process that's entirely online. New hires receive their equipment in the mail. Facebook's New Hire Orientation program is now virtual. And all functional training programs, like Bootcamp and Design Camp, have moved to virtual models as well."We are fortunate to have strong internal collaboration tools such as Workplace, Portal, and Workplace Chat to assist us in working virtually. Through Workplace, we can bring new team members together to build community, and through Facebook Live we can have group discussions and Q&As," Andrew says. "Along the way, managers and teams are being armed with updated guidance based on what we find is working well and what isn't working.""What's most important—virtual or not—is how they talk about their ideas, think about different options, and how they problem-solve along the way."
Top four tips for interviewing virtually at the Facebook companyWe asked Zef and Andrew to share their top four tips for candidates interviewing virtually. Here's what they recommend.
- Review materials in advance: Facebook recruiters send a lot of helpful prep materials that are customized to the role and will help you prepare. For coding interviews, we now have coding prep in the candidate portal that allows you to do practice problems in advance of the interview.
- Prep your tech: Check to make sure you have a stable internet connection and that the video conferencing links Facebook's team sends you are set-up and working properly. Additionally, be sure to test out your tools, whether it's a whiteboard, Google Drawings or something you're planning to screen share. If you're going to be having a coding interview, spend a few minutes testing out coderpad to get a feel for how it works. We generally don't have a preference for coding language, use whichever one you're most comfortable with.
- Gather examples: You'll have at least one interview, but sometimes up to three or four, that will focus on discussing your past experiences. Having an example of a large project you recently worked on, a time you had a challenge, or a critical piece of feedback you've received are all good questions to think about before your interview day.
- Be yourself: We're all adjusting to this new normal and we place tremendous value on authenticity at Facebook.
- Learn about life at Facebook on Instagram (@FacebookLife).
- Like our Facebook Careers Talent Community Page for the latest updates.
Branwyn Baughman, recruiter at Lockheed Martin, shares an exclusive take on the most important tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.
Take a look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as some top-notch tips that Branwyn outlines on how you can make your application stand out.
To learn more about Lockheed Martin and their open roles, click here.
6 Tips for Companies & 5 Tips for Individuals from Indeed's Group VP of ESG, LaFawn Davis
Earlier this month, LaFawn Davis, Indeed's Group Vice President of Environmental, Social, & Governance, joined us as part of our Diversity Reboot Summit to talk about the 'shecession' experienced by many women, and especially women of color, as a result of COVID-19.
LaFawn shared some great tips for companies and individuals looking to be part of "the great rehiring." If you're looking to find a new role, or to ensure that you help bring back diverse talent displaced by COVID, check out her advice below, and catch her complete talk here or by clicking the video above!
Q: What would your advice be to companies that are looking to step up their diverse hiring in 2021?
My advice: Good intentions are no longer good enough. Nobody wants to hear what you meant to do, wish you could have do, intended to do. Nobody wants to hear that you can't find Black Women or any other dimension of diversity. We're obviously out here.
My squad and I have a saying "Impact over intentions." So, if 2020 was the year of good diversity and inclusion intentions, let's make 2021 the year of actions and impact.
So, now that we got that out of the way. If you're looking to step up your diverse hiring. Stop and get your house in order. Because you shouldn't just want to hire a diverse workforce, you should want to grow and keep them too. So there are 5 things, ready?
1. Focus on long-term systemic change.
There's a lot of momentum — and need — for change right now. It's not just about a message of support or donating to a cause one time. Take a look at your own systems. How do you hire and grow employees? Do your succession planning, talent reviews, recruiting and other processes have built-in biases? Is equality part of your core values? Are you actively working toward change? Recognize that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Above all, hold yourself accountable for the way things are, then work to improve.
2. Take a close look at your data.
Share it internally to be transparent with employees of where you are now. When possible, share it externally to be visible and accountable (I'm happy to announce that Indeed will be releasing its own diversity data this summer). Use it as a baseline for comparison against what you hope to achieve.
3. Change behavior.
Focus on behavioral changes throughout the company with an emphasis on coaching, training, and having crucial conversations with managers. Leaders and managers set an example for the entire workforce. If employees see the behavior of managers or leaders in a negative light, a true sense of belonging is difficult to achieve.
4. Representation matters.
If leadership roles are perceived as exclusive to many members of the workforce, then a broader sense of belonging will continue to elude many employees. People in leadership roles should reflect the diversity of a company's workforce. Observing someone "like me" in a leadership role helps attract and retain talent and motivates workers to pursue roles with greater responsibility.
5. Create Policies And Procedures Reflective Of The Entire Workforce.
As you work through new or existing policies and procedures, be aware of barriers experienced by different populations. Take, for example, the case of caregivers. More scheduling flexibility for calls can go a long way for employees who share their home workspace with others and must tend to family responsibilities while working remotely.
Q: Do you have advice for individuals that are looking for new career opportunities, especially women of color who might have lost their previous jobs during the pandemic?
Adaptability has always been an important part of an individual's career progression - even before COVID-19, it is especially important now.
It is important to show a potential new employer how your abilities adapt to a new role or a new industry. Focus on skills more than just experiences because skills can be applied in so many different ways. So… I'll give you 6 things for this one.
1. Perform a professional audit. Taking some time to understand your qualities, qualifications and values can help focus your career transition and narrow down your career path options if you haven't already. Doing so can also help you understand how you might position yourself during the job search.
2. Identify your hard and soft skills. Soft skills are often the most transferable, so identifying them early can help you understand the ways you might bring value to a new role or industry. Taking inventory of your hard skills will help you identify if there are certain industries that might be easier to transition into.
3. Highlight your biggest career wins. Communicating the impact you've made throughout your career can help employers quickly understand the value you'll bring to their organization, even if you come from another role or industry.
4. Utilize online job search to your advantage. Pay close attention to the requirements and duties of jobs so you can evaluate whether the career would align with your skills, interests and values.
5. You just need to meet "most" of the qualifications. Try to focus on positions for which you meet at least 60% of the qualifications with your transferable skills. Meeting 60% of the qualifications isn't a hard rule, but it's a good general guideline to help you determine whether it's worth applying for.
6. Get a sense of the company. Before interviews, do some research to learn how inclusive a company is. Peruse the organization's core values, its social media accounts, and any recent statements in support of marginalized groups. Pay attention to the interviewers themselves. Is the panel diverse or are you likely to be an early "diversity hire"? If the interviewers seem to be emphasizing "cultural fit," ask what that means. Basically, be an active participant in the hiring process. You are also interviewing the company, as much as they are interviewing you.
Stephanie Acker, director of inside sales at Commvault, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as her own career journey.
To kick things off, Stephanie mentioned the three things that make a great inside sales professional: an independent work ethic, the ability to learn and execute on their own, and an awareness of what keeps them motivated.
Over her 12-year career at Commvault, Stephanie's greatest motivation has been helping customers to find solutions and catapult them to success. In both her past role as a sales representative and her current director position, Stephanie remains committed to ensuring her team understands what motivates them to sell and setting them up for success.
The biggest surprise during her career at Commvault was becoming the director of inside sales. Stephanie shared that she loves working for a company that listens to new ideas, thinks outside of the box, and tries new things.
Don't miss her take on what moves a candidate forward in the interview process! For example, Stephanie loves when the interviewee gets into "the zone"—showing their selling technique. She also shares her favorite interview questions.
As Stephanie says, stop thinking and apply today!
To learn more about Commvault and their open roles, click here.
When you think about strong female leadership, what comes to mind? For Tatiana L., a global client partner in Miami, it's about more than having an executive seat, being a mother, or making dreams come true. "Good leadership is about being open, flexible, and able to understand different perspectives," she says. "It's about fostering collaboration, bringing people together, and empowering them to connect."
Tatiana L. is a global client partner based in Miami.
Tatiana is part of the Women@ Facebook Resource Group and helped plan Women's Leadership Day, an annual global community summit. While the highly-anticipated event takes place over just one day, its massive impact is felt over the course of the entire year.
Amy W. is an operations lead based in London.
"Women's Leadership Day is more than an event. It's energy, and it's a movement," Amy W., an operations lead in London, says. "Moments like this can completely change the perception of women in technology."
From choosing the content and programming for the event to making it accessible for women around the globe, we went behind the scenes with seven members of the Women@ Facebook Resource Group to learn more about how women are empowered—and are empowering one another— in their career journeys at the Facebook company.
Behind the scenes with Women@
Amanda M., an internal recruiting manager based in Singapore, speaking onstage at 2019 Women@ Leadership Day in APAC.
"I've always been passionate about empowering women, but I didn't know how I could do it at work. My first Women@ experience changed how I felt at Facebook," Amanda M., an internal recruiting manager in Singapore, remembers. "From then on, I wanted to help other women feel heard, valued, and confident."
Planning the global event, which brings together women from more than 20 countries, calls for close collaboration across multiple teams, regions, and timezones. Members of Women@ also partner with other Facebook Resource Groups, such as the Pride@ Resource Group, Latin@ Facebook Resource Group, Desis@ Facebook Resource Group and Black@ Resource Group, to ensure all women at Facebook are represented and feel included.
Vivian V. is a program manager based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Across regions and communities, we each bring unique differences and powerful stories. When one of us moves forward, we have the opportunity to bring all of us forward," Vivian V., a program manager in the San Francisco Bay Area explains. "While planning the summit, we meet weekly to talk about what women in different regions are experiencing. From the event theme and content to planning speaker sessions and fine-tuning details, we each have items to own. Two months before the summit, we meet daily to share updates and make sure nothing slips through the cracks."
"Just like me, women in APAC look forward to Women's Leadership Day all year long," Amanda says. Planning something that's deeply meaningful to so many people can feel like a lot of pressure, but at the same time, it's uplifting. I appreciate that we have the opportunity to talk about our individual and shared challenges, and we map out ways we can build community while empowering leadership for women across the globe."
Empowering confidence, equality, and leadership through storytelling
Paris Z., a vertical strategy lead in Singapore, and Amanda M. collaborate with women across the globe to plan Women@ programming and events.
Women's Leadership Day encourages women to talk about challenges like experiencing imposter syndrome, breaking through barriers, and how to manage work/life flexibility. "Storytelling is a huge part of the event," Paris Z., a vertical strategy lead in Singapore, explains.
Vivian says, "I've been at Facebook for nearly two years and help plan these events, and honestly, I never really understood imposter syndrome before I got here. Working with the Women@ community and hearing from our speakers—who are talented, brilliant superstars—I've seen firsthand how it affects them too."
Michelle C. is a client partner based in London.
Michelle C., a client partner in London, says that the summit's speaker sessions, which feature people from inside and outside of Facebook, are a highlight of every event. "We had a speaker from Tel Aviv who talked about the importance of balance in her personal life and how she co-parents with her husband. She shared specific things she's done, like adding her husband to the WhatsApp chat groups for mothers she's in and reminding her daughter's school that her husband is also available when their child feels sick. Her message was that we'll never be equal in the workplace until we're equal at home, and it really struck a chord."
Paris says that in APAC, Eva Chen's talk about facing challenges amidst the coronavirus pandemic and how she's raising her daughter was a top-rated session because it was so relatable. "From talking about her daughter's love for dinosaurs—a "boy" thing—and raising kids to fully be themselves to opening up about what it was like to grow up with immigrant parents from China and Vietnam, Eva inspired us with her authenticity and openness. Her struggle to feel supported while working in fashion and tech, rather than medicine, is something a lot of people in APAC understand."
"Every woman has a unique story," Michelle says. "Hearing from others is inspiring, validating, and truly eye-opening. It reminds us that we're not alone."
A memorable and lasting impact
It's no surprise that with the tremendous amount of planning and careful consideration that goes into the summit, its full impact is impossible to measure.
"It meant so much to me when people shared such positive feedback about Women's Leadership Day," Paris says. "We heard that some attendees felt inspired for days and weeks."
Kira G. is an agency partner based in Berlin.
Kira G., an agency partner in Berlin, has witnessed how the summit's programming can inspire action, even helping people push past a career plateau. "We might reach a point in our careers when we think, "I can't do this anymore, I'm not moving forward'," she says. "Women's Leadership Day gives us fresh perspectives, shows us new approaches, and starts important conversations. This can unlock new paths for growth and help us move forward."
Impact is felt in other Facebook groups, communities, and across teams too, inspiring interest and allyship. Amanda explains, "I felt so proud when a male VP from the Sales team came to us after hearing about what people talked about at Women's Leadership Day. He told us he wanted to learn more because it's everyone's responsibility to be an ally."
Empowering the community throughout the year
While Amanda describes Women's Leadership Day as a "bump in energy and inspiration" and "an injection of adrenaline", Vivian says that the real magic is what happens afterwards—and takes place all year long.
"When we think about Women's Leadership Day, our focus is on making sure that the powerful messages we hear and experience serve us throughout the entire year. We ask ourselves questions like, "How can we sprinkle these themes into our programming throughout the month or quarter? How do these ideas fit with our Women@ initiatives?" Going through something awesome together is just the beginning. Our work takes place year-round and we're constantly building on it to do more."
Paris agrees: "There's no shortage of amazing stories from our Women@ community throughout the year. Women's Leadership Day is just one channel for those stories, and I love how it stays top of mind with people and empowers them to do more good. When we come together, we can do anything we dream of."
"We're building a sisterhood and a community," Tatiana beams. "It feels so good to know there's always someone there to support you."
Learn more about Facebook's Employee Resource Groups, including Women@ here.